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Protests were worth the risk

Yet another letter writer to the “Ask the Administrator” column implies that Public Health Administrator Julie Pryde should criticize recent public protests as risky — in this case, as more risky than going to the gym.

Even assuming the writer’s premise that the gym users would follow proper mask and social-distance rules (no guarantee considering how many violations I see at stores), the depiction of protests as people “walking shoulder to shoulder down the middle of a city street with some wearing masks and others not” is inaccurate. The vast, vast majority of people at the protests were properly masked. I only saw about five people without masks among the hundreds protesting. Perhaps the people who care enough about others to protest in support of the lives of the African American members of our country also care enough about others to be careful about protecting them from COVID-19.

Julie Pryde has been outstanding in her handling of the pandemic here in our community, and I am impressed with her answers to these protest-criticizing letters. I doubt I would have the same ability to maintain calm and use the letters to spread appropriate information about how we can protect ourselves in this difficult time.

Yes, the protests do increase the risk of the spread of COVID-19, but what Pryde cannot say is that the small elevated risk that they impose is a reasonable trade-off to try and reduce the many serious risks caused by racism.

STEVEN SCHER

Urbana